288 CHARLES STEWART PARNELL [1881
over the people, as has been shown lately in the most marked manner by the power they possess of controlling and pacifying the most excited crowd, and to withdraw the priests from the movement would be an object for which a great deal of risk might be run. I have thought it worth while to make these observations, but from recent speeches in both Houses I infer that her Majesty's Government have come to the conclusion that the Land League is not to be broken up.
'Next comes the question of stopping the Land League meetings. I have already expressed my opinion, in a minute of December 27, 1880, that they ought to have been stopped. They did an immense amount of mischief, and allowing them to go on has been and will be fixed xipon as the chief error of our Administration. On the other hand, no one can suppose that under any circumstances there would not have been a vast number of outrages last year; and if we had suppressed the meetings wo should have been accused of sitting on the safety valve, and it would have been said that if we had allowed a freer expression of opinion and a constitutional agitation all would have been well.
i I think now that stopping the Land League meetings would be too late, that it would involve too great a change of front, and that it would be much more difficult than last year, as the people are better organised and able to change the time and place of meeting more rapidly than they could before. We must pursue the policy we began at the end of the year, drawing a line at those meetings where there is sworn information that they would be attended with danger to an individual.
' Now comes the question of the arrest of indi-